Thursday, March 27, 2008

A local perspective

Two recent, unconnected, comments suggest the value of stepping back from the keyboard and taking a look around.

Peter Ryley, on vacation in Greece, discovers the joys of narrowed horizons:

The lack of broadband reduces my contact with my favourite blogs and so my world shrinks further into the parochialism of the Greek village. Today it was Argalasti market and a plant sale in Lafkos. Previously, it was the big news about someone leaving his job and moving to Promiri. Then there is Iannis giving us eggs, Chrisanthi feeding her goats, and Stavroula (no teeth, gum boots and dubious personal hygene) coming to the gate to tell us about goats in our garden, our insecure wood pile and then to weep over her 'broken heart' - she tragically lost her son - and the pain in her leg. All this matters; the rest fades.
And Shuggy, in reflecting on his support for the Iraq war, makes a very good point that, to me anyway, seems related to the above.

I astonished and disgusted many people who know me by my support for this war. I astonished myself. I'm no stranger to self-disgust either but I'd have to say that this never has anything to do with the positions I take on this or that issue. For this is part of a wider problem we have on the left - the idea that morality is a function of the stands we take on big geo-political issues. As if what we think matters a damn, as if this was important compared to how we quit ourselves as men and women in relation to our families, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

It's not, obviously, that those positions on larger issues don't matter.

But it may be useful to remind ourselves that the imagined struggle of world-historical importance that we often feel we're involved in (a sense that blogging only amplifies) is, in most cases, just two people arguing.

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